Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/35

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Paragraph 1- A minor is disqualified from testifying, even if he was smart and wise, until he brings two hairs following his 13th birthday. If a long time passed from this 13th birthday before they had a chance to check for hairs and when they checked they found two hairs, he has the status of adult from the time he turned 13. If he had a full beard he does not require checking.

Paragraph 2- If one reaches the age of 20, has not yet brought two hairs and shows signs of being sterile, he is an adult and may testify. If he does not show signs of being sterile, he may not testify until most of his lifetime has passed.

Paragraph 3- If one is 13 years old and brings two hairs but is not familiar with commerce, his testimony is invalid for matters regarding land. With respect to movable items, however, his testimony is valid.

Paragraph 4- If one knows testimony while he was a minor and testifies as an adult, the testimony is of no effect. There are some matters, however, that we may rely on the testimony of an adult regarding things he witnessed as a child. These are such matters: He is believed to say this is my father’s, teacher’s or brother’s handwriting. There are those that say that he is only believed regarding these individuals, but not for anyone else.

Paragraph 5- He is also believed to say I remember that they treated the wife of so-and-so with the custom of a virgin when she got married. He is also believed to say this place was a place where a grave was plowed over.

Paragraph 6- He is also believed to say, even if he is a solo witness, we would go until here on Shabbos because the laws of techumim are rabbinical. The same applies to other rabbinical prohibitions. He is also believed to say that so-and-so left school so he could dip and eat terumah in the evening, that he shared the terumah with us, that the witness personally would bring challah and other priestly gifts to so-and-so the Kohen or that the witness’s father said this family is kosher and this family is not or that they made some kind of sign to inform others that one member of the family married someone who was disqualified, as will be explained in Even Haezer Siman 2.

Paragraph 7- If a gentile or slave testified on any of the above cases after he converted or was freed, he is not believed.

Paragraph 8- One who is insane is disqualified from testifying. An insane person is not just someone who walks around naked, breaks vessels and throws stones, rather it is anyone who goes out of his mind and his senses are consistently lacking on any matter, even though he can speak and act appropriately on other matters. Such a person is disqualified from testifying and is included in the category of the insane.

Paragraph 9- One who often collapses from a disease that drives him out of his mind, is disqualified from testifying while collapsed, but is valid while healthy. This is true whether he collapses from time to time or consistently collapses without any set time, so long as his senses are not always distorted because there are those that often collapse and are out of their mind even while healthy. We must extensively evaluate the testimony of one who collapses often.

Paragraph 10- Those that are very foolish and cannot recognize contradictory matters and do not understand topics that the rest of society does, and similarly those that frighten quickly and go out of their mind or are exceedingly crazy, are all included in the category of the insane. This topic is something that is dependent on the perception of the judge because it is impossible to explain these rules perfectly in writing.

Paragraph 11- A deaf person is disqualified from testifying, whether he can speak but not hear or hear but not speak, even if he is sane, because he needs to testify in court with his mouth and be able to hear the words of the judges and the intimidation they place on him. Similarly, if he became mute- even if he can be checked in the same fashion we check when it comes to divorce and we can see that his testimony matches up- and he testifies in front of us in writing, it is not valid testimony in any case with the exception of testimony for a woman because we are lenient when it comes to avoiding the chaining of a woman to a marriage.

Paragraph 12- One who is blind in both eyes is disqualified from testifying, even if he recognizes voices and people and his testimony matches up.

Paragraph 13- If one was deaf, insane or blind at the time he received the testimony, and was healthy at the time he testified- or vice-versa- he is disqualified. If, however, he was healthy at the time he received the testimony and at the time he testified, he is valid, even if he became deaf, insane or blind in the interim since he was valid at the beginning and at the end.

Paragraph 14- A woman is disqualified from testifying. One who was born without genitalia and a hermaphrodite are disqualified out of doubt. Anyone whose validity is in doubt, is disqualified from testifying. All of these disqualified individuals are disqualified even in a place where there are not a lot of valid witnesses. This is all strict law, but there are those that say that there is an ancient regulation that in a place where there are not a lot of men, such as a synagogue for women or some other temporary place that has lots of women, but not men, such as testifying that so-and-so woman wore these clothing and they belong to her and men don’t pay attention to these matters, women are believed. Therefore, there are those that write even a solo woman, a relative or a minor are believed when it comes to the assault and degradation of a scholar or other cases of quarrel and snitching because it is not standard practice nor there is enough time to call valid witnesses. This is all where the plaintiff claims that he is certain in his claim.